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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Imagine that the moon controls your destiny. Who you’ll become and what you’ll believe in? Would you like it? Lena Duchannes, a young caster girl certainly isn’t pleased with her fate. Lena is part of a long line of female casters (similar to witches) who, as the result of a horrible curse, are claimed for the light or the dark on their sixteenth birthday. Approaching her claiming, Lena moves in with her sweet and fatherly uncle, Macon Ravenwood. Macon believes that Lena is in danger of becoming dark via the malice of Sarafine her mother, and as a result attempts to shelter her from the perils of the world. His protection proves futile when Ethan, a high school boy so enthralled by Lena that he sees her in his dreams enters the gates of Ravenwood Mansion. Lena and Ethan are drawn together; a mortal caster bound by mutual dreams, thoughts and eventually love. As Ethan is pulled closer to Lena’s world, they discover age-old secrets, magical objects, a seducing caster, and the general realization that everything isn’t as it seems. Light or dark, that is the question. Read on to find the answer.
This book had me spellbound from the very first page. What with the vivid character descriptions and suspense at every turn, I simply couldn’t put it down. The way the authors weaved together descriptions really formed an image in my mind and held it there throughout the story. Even though I picked this up in anticipation of the movie (which by the way paled in comparison), I discovered much more than a blockbuster basis, and would definitely consider this one of the best books I’ve read this academic year. The cover art was also quite intriguing and the font used has a very supernatural appearance. Beautiful Creatures is similar to other supernatural romance stories, but has many extremely unique qualities. In my opinion, it greatly surpassed the Hunger Games as well as other fantasies such as the Matched Trilogy.
Beautiful Creatures itself is part of a four part series (followed by Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption) that I can’t wait to get. I would describe Beautiful Creatures as more of a southern gothic type novel with lush descriptions of the Deep South’s society, landscape and history. I particularly enjoyed the scenes in which the authors drew upon their knowledge of Southern life in relation to Lena and Ethan’s story. For instance, in a school dance scene, Garcia and Stohl describe the “taffeta pastry dresses” worn by the girls. They go on to explain how there are only two dress shops in town, Little Miss and Southern Belles. There are very subtle differences that become virtually unnoticeable when certain events cause the students to get wet!
I would strongly recommend this book to middle school boys and girls looking for a fantasy romance novel similar to Twilight but with more substance. For myself, it was no surprise I was drawn to this book, as I am a fan of the fantasy genre. Many others who shared similar reading interests recommended this book to me, persuading me to read it.
Overall, a great read, five stars!
—-Submitted by Hannah, Grade 8